"Well, they worth anything?"
Mal rolled his eyes at Jayne's question, as he often did. Since Miranda, smuggling had been more difficult. The Alliance had an eye on them at all times. Or they were trying, so they'd been avoiding the Core Planets. As a result they were in the first Solar System after a long trip. Turned out the United Federation if Planets didn't run as tight a ship as the Alliance. They'd found seventy-two oddball units of some form on a lower deck of a ship heading around Jupiter. Kaylee had hopped out in the shuttle, playing a damsel in distress, and eventually got to those decks and cut them off. While the ship's crew was in confusion, Kaylee had gotten to transporting the goods. The thing was they now had 73 items they couldn't quite identify, and their mechanic had been caught by the Enterprise's crew.
"I ain't analyzing them until we get Kaylee back, Jayne." Malcolm growled.
There wasn't a soul on board who wouldn't have traded all the money in the verse to get Kaylee back. Simon was freaking out, having finally gotten together with her. The captain doubted it would last. Sure, he supposed they were cute, but he didn't think they had long term potential. They were from two different origins, even if Simon Tam was less stuffed up then when they met. Zoe had taken over the cockpit, trying to open up a communication channel. River Tam wasn't far from her at any time, keeping a better eye on her condition then Simon. The widow was pregnant, and the journey to the Federation planets had taken her to seven months. Seven months since Wash perished suddenly in what Mal had thought might be all of their last stand. Since they sent out the truth of Miranda and the reavers.
Finally a video feed turned on and Mal winced. He could see it had a central command, and a rather cocky looking young man leaning on his arm in the captain's chair. The crew wore the same uniform. Black pants and shirts of various colors. Red, blue, and yellow it seemed like. In truth, yellow seemed the least common. The Captain was wearing this. And Mal did not like how his eyes wandered from Zoe to Inara standing to the side. The Companion had always been close to Kaylee, and her getting nabbed was something she wanted to fix.
"Ah, hello there!" Mal leaned forward to turn on his own video feed and speak with the dirty blonde man in the room that seemed all too bright. "I'm Captain Malcolm Reynolds. It seems our ship's mechanic wound up on a shuttle that ejected. Little adorable thing, goes by Kaylee?"
"She's arguing with our mechanic about our engine and the best way to relay." The man groaned. "I'm more concerned about our missing Cargo."
"Cargo?" Mal cocked a brow. "Don't think I got a name."
"Captain, scan's reveal they're in a Firefly craft ship. A favorite of smugglers. Stands to reason they might have stolen the pods."
A strange looking man in a blue shirt came up beside the captain, and Jayne blanched.
"The sam hill happened to his eyebrows?" He exclaimed.
"I was more worried about his ears." Mal tilted his head.
"...That's a vulcan!" Simon erupted. "I didn't know that the Federation had any..."
"Pointy eared bastard is only half." The man in the yellow shirt waved his hand. "I'm Captain James Tiberius Kirk of the Starship Enterprise. We suspect your mechanic, easy on the eyes as she may be, was in cahoots with you to steal are cargo. Now I get you're smugglers, but let me tell you. What you took has no monetary value. We were on a mission to transport rather dangerous cargo. We need those pods back. And then if she'll get off my ship, I'll beam your mechanic back to you."
The idea of Kaylee fangirling over the other ship brought a smile to Mal's face, but it faded.
"Dangerous." He repeated. "Sir, we don't have a beamer. Or whatever. We have a cargo bay. Manual loading only."
River had been as if one with the cockpit, unmoving and almost invisible in her seat. Now she was standing up, dressed in her blue dress and a pair of boots. "Those are Cryogenic Pods." And then she was running out. Mal winced as he turned back to the screen.
"Let's say we have a slightly unstable psychic eighteen year old who has had bad experiences with cryogenics and knows where we keep the power tools. How bad will it be if she opens one of those?"
"Give us clearance to beam some of our men down right now." Kirk said, his expression shifting from dull or almost bored to downright uneasy. "And tell us where the pods are so we can cut her off, transport them back."
"You got a good number in there?" Jayne snorted. "Little River may seem meek but she can take out an army if she tries."
"Ah..." Mal laughed awkwardly. "We stuck them in all sorts of odd ball nooks and crannies. Naming any one place may be...difficult."
"Then I hope that girl's as fierce as that man in the stupid hat." Kirk frowned. "Or you've got one hell of a situation."